Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal. ~ Pamela Vaull Starr
I love this barrier in the photograph. In the physical world, it’s all bricks and boarded windows. A street address scrawled on a mural. Hinges and the door’s outline give little hint at what might be inside. Yet, the windows and door are covered with a huge print of a woman’s face, her eyes directed upwards and outwards.
Solid barriers. Yet the distance from behind all kinds of barriers to the beyond is never further than a gaze upwards and outwards. The barrier may be limiting thoughts. If I gaze beyond those thoughts, I can see the dreams that unfold into the plans that attain the goals. Step by step, baby steps. Many tiny steps forward and suddenly I’ve walked a mile. I’ve reached what I once believed to be the impossible goal.
Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you reach your destiny. ~ Carl Schurz
The sky is always visible. The Universe, expanding beyond us in distances of time and space our human minds can barely grasp, is beyond our naked-eye visual capabilities, but it is there. We know the Universe exists, even if it is beyond our grasp, beyond our seeing.
When I get bogged down in present day happenings and the focus on myself, this photograph reminds me to move beyond, beyond what my mind can easily grasp, beyond what I can see clearly with my eyes. Listen to the messages from my heart and spirit. Choose my guides. Move beyond my comfort zone, beyond my preconceived notions of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is ‘look under foot.’ You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world. ~ John Burroughs
Once I have gazed at the stars, the moon, the sunlit sky, even the cloudy gray skies, once I have connected with the divine, then I return to my space and my time. I ground myself in this moment, the place where I stand. The place that grounds me in the here and now. I find the strength and the courage to set my goals for the day or the month or for a life time. And I move forward.
Possibility exists. The sky is visible to all. And as the Burroughs’ quote reminds us, we each have a place under the stars. We each have a place in the world. Opportunity is under our feet, even as we look to the sky and grasp for the stars.
Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. This is the eleventh photograph in a series of twelve from my portfolio “Barriers” where I explore my journey with mental illness as I use photography as part story-teller. For the introduction to this project, please see “Heading in a New Direction”.